Late yesterday, The Mirror reported that Everton are in advanced talks with a Chinese-led consortium for a significant ‘multi-million pound investment’ in the club.
The article went on to say that Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri saw the transfer funds paucity caused by moving into a new stadium at Arsenal, and wants to ensure that the same is not replicated by finding an investor in the new home for the Blues. No formal announcement has been made about the Bramley Moore Docks project, but is widely expected to be made sooner than later.
There was some additional speculation on the part of fans regarding the identity of the Chinese consortium, with a couple of sources claiming that Chinese Media Capital (CMC) Holdings are the group. However, that seems unlikely because CMC has a stake in the parent company that owns Manchester City under Sheikh Mansour. CMC ave recently teamed up with private investment groups for multiple sports ventures, including a $4 billion packaged bid for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that did not come to fruition.
In recent years, Asian interest in investing in British clubs has skyrocketed as Everton blogger The Esk notes here -
“The Chinese (CMC) stake in Manchester City’s parent company, West Brom’s Chinese owner Guochuan Lai, and both Wolves (Fosun) and Aston Villa (Tony Xia) in the Championship...
“Lander Sports Development’s interest in Southampton (which did not conclude) and CITIC Securities reported subsequent interest. Additionally HNA Group are reported to have had discussions with Chelsea, potentially with regards to their stadium development, but again without conclusion.”
Considering Farhad Moshiri’s close links with USM Holdings, which is owned by Arsenal minority stake holder Alisher Usmanov, a Chinese investment would represent almost an about turn. USM is currently a sponsor of Everton’s Finch Farm training facility as well.
However, selling the naming rights to the new ground would be a welcome source of funding for the Bramley Moore Docks stadium which keeps Moshiri’s riches available for Ronald Koeman’s transfer chest in coming transfer windows.